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Xavier Hufkens

McArthur Binion has joined the gallery

Xavier Hufkens is pleased to announce the representation of American artist McArthur Binion (b. 1946).

Xavier Hufkens is pleased to announce the representation of American artist McArthur Binion (b. 1946, Macon, Mississippi, USA). In a career spanning four decades, Binion has gained recognition as an artist, writer and teacher. The artist will continue to be represented by Lehmann Maupin, Massimo De Carlo and Richard Gray.

Binion became the first African American to obtain a master’s degree in fine arts in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1973) and also holds a degree in creative writing. These dual passions – words and images – define his life and work to this day. After graduating, Binion moved to New York and immersed himself in the city’s vibrant creative scene, then dominated by minimalism and Pop Art. Friends with artists such as Brice Marden and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Binion pursued an artistic career and accepted the first of several notable teaching positions. Moving to Chicago in 1991, he became Professor of Art at Columbia College in 1993. In 2013, he rediscovered the address book that he’d maintained during his twenty-year stay in New York and began exploring its creative potential.

Typically executed in oil-stick, his work draws upon the traditions of minimalism (the grid arrangement, serial gestures) whilst also being a form of self-portraiture. Underneath the precise and methodical markings lie photocopied pages with intimate details of Binion’s own life ranging from photos of his childhood home to his birth certificate and charged found photographs, such as those depicting the violence of lynching in America. Binion refers to this layer as the ‘under conscious’ or ‘substrate’, the details of which only become legible when standing close to the painting. Viewers are thus compelled to alter their viewing positions, shifting between the microscopic detail (words) and the bigger picture (image).

“The work of McArthur Binion has been an important discovery for me,” says Xavier Hufkens. “His unique take on minimalism and abstraction which he blends with biographical material gives birth to works that combine beauty, elegance and emotion. I am honoured that the gallery will participate in the long due recognition of such an important artist.”

McArthur Binion lives and works in Chicago. His works were featured prominently in the 57th Venice Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organised at Museo Novecento, Florence, Italy (2020); the Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI (2018); the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX (2012). Binion’s work is in numerous public and private collections and his most recent venture is the Modern Ancient Brown Foundation that provides funding and workspaces to help young visual artists and writers of colour find their voices.

McArthur Binion’s work will be included in a group exhibition at the gallery this summer. His inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery will be in autumn 2022.